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Thread: Living In The Country

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
    May 2003
    Northwestern Ohio

    Living In The Country

    This Bear misses living in the country. A couple different threads floating around that focused on country life, city folk moving to the country, subdivision names, etc. got this ole' guy to drift back to a different time and place.....

    We lived in very rural Henry County, OH. The road we lived on was only wide enough for one (1) car, so if two (2) vehicles met head-on, somebody had to be neighborly and move to the side. Our house was on top of a sand hill, so every year at this time we would see a parade of ticks.....attached to legs, shoes, dogs and cats, etc. (If they leech on to something like a leg they will drink their fill of blood and fall off.....laying on the floor, looking like a green small grape with tiny legs......yuck.....)

    There were only a few houses on our stretch of road. If a car or truck went down the road it was an event. The farming family who owned most of the land in an area of about eight (8) square miles lived at the other end of our road.

    Our fire protection was from Liberty Center, about seven (7) miles away. Our post office was Liberty Center. Our telephone exchange was Grand Rapids, OH, which was across the Maumee River from us. The school district on the west side of my road was Liberty Center. The school district on my side (east) was Otsego, which was a consolidated rural district that was about fifteen (15) miles away.

    We had an all-electric home. I kept the baseboard heat either off or on a very low setting so it would only kick-in if the house got real cold. We actually heated the whole house with a wood-burning stove. About six (6) to eight (8) cords a season. This Bear hand-split all of the wood. That was good exercise and relaxing.

    We had a 2-car separate garage. My loud rock and roll blasted out of that garage at all times of the year. (No neighbors!)

    We raised chickens, ducks, geese, etc. We had a small out-building that held garden equipment and an inside pen for the feathered friends to get out of the winter blasts. Wasps were common.

    My study was upstairs and faced west, out toward the corn fields and the woodlands of the Maumee State Forest. Just about every night a herd of deer came out of the woods and wandered through the corn field. From my front yard I could practice driving (golf) with old golf balls.

    In times of bad weather our road was one (1) of the last to be plowed. I have always had 4-wheel drive vehicles so I had no problems with that. Sometimes from my upstairs study window I would see two-wheel drive vehicles stuck in wind-blown drifts so I would head on down the road and "snap-snatch" them out.

    I had a giant concrete pad between the garage and the house. A friend gave me an old telephone pole and I built a great basketball court. A great jump shot that didn't need perfecting was kept "on target' on that court.

    We had an above-ground pool. Of course, it was clothing-optional for the Bear. When our well went dry one (1) early autumn I had to use the pool as a bathub for about a week. Cold.....brrrr.....

    We had well water that had a sulpher odor. If you filled a container with water and let it set for a day, the odor would go away. That's what we used for drinking water. Didn't bother me, bother me, bother me, bother me, bother me......

    Once, between marriages, I had been drinking with friends in Toledo......about a forty (40) mile drive to The Turtle Club.....and came home tired and cold. It was the middle of winter and becasue I was living alone at that time I had to stir up the fire in the wood stove and OPEN the air circulation vents to get it a-goin'.

    I feel asleep. Woke up to a roaring sound.....chimney fire. So there I was, running a garden hose from my lowest level laundry room out the window. I sprayed the fire as best as I could but actually had to call in the reserves......the fire department. Stoopid Bear.

    Once in a while, Katie and I will cruise down our old road and check out the area. New houses are sprouting everywhere. Even across the road, the corn field has been made smaller as new houses line the skinny lane. I just wonder how those people would take a bald big guy, rocking out to the MC5, swimming nekkid in his back yard pool. Even worse, if my ducks or chickens wandered over to their place and left their calling cards.

    I miss living in the country. We moved because we thought it best for Katie's son. We have been in Swanton since 1997. Oh well.

    Bear On His 1948 Case Model SC Farm Tractor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
    Aug 2001

    City girl goes rural

    Yes, this Valley girl lived in a rural area once upon a time. And no, I'm not talking about the backwoods I call Alberta.

    I once lived on Whidbey Island in Washington. I lived in a subdivision surrounded by farms, woods and wetlands. And on the west edge, was the Puget Sound with the occasional megamansion vacation homes owned by Microsoft giants. I know it doesn't sound 'rural', but I lived on a 2-acre lot with a well and a septic tank on a one lane road with a ditch. My house backed onto to the woods, and deer ate my flowers. Most of my city animals suffered in the country. The dog had a great time, but got all kind of nasties in the woods. The cat got taken out by a coyote. The saw the toy poodle down the street get snatched by a bald eagle once... the country was really, really interesting to someone who grew up across the street from the Los Angeles River(aka aqueduct).

    I used to love driving to work in the morning. I would start on a one-lane road, and drive north down the hill I lived on with a beautiful, sweeping view of the San Juan islands and the Puget Sounds. On really clear days, I could see Vancouver Island way off in the distance. Eventually I'd drive east past organic farms, fields of horses, natural areas, etc. When I would hit the metropolis of Oak Harbor (at 20,000 people) I would immediately see the sun rising over the harbor and the Cascades off in the distance. I miss that start to morning every day.

    I also miss the stars. Coming from Los Angeles, I had never lived in a place that you can see the stars from you front porch. Well not the milky way or the fainter constellations like pleides (sp?). I remember seeing Hale Bop (again, sp?) reflected in the Sound on the way back from night meetings... I'd just sit there and think, "wow... I'm so lucky to be here." I feel that way sometimes when I see the northern lights up here too. I wouldn't have left, except for the pathetic social environment for a single 24 y.o.

  3. #3

    Oct 2001
    Solano County, California
    I'm going to harsh your thread's vibe, Bear, by saying I like living in a fairly dense town neighborhood, with rural countryside a short distance away (ten minutes by bicycle). My fear is suburbanites chopping the countryside into two-to-five acre "estate lots" so that no rural countryside is left. It sounds like Bear lived in "real" countryside. I argue (jokingly) with our Chief Building Official all the time about his country estate.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
    Feb 2004
    Chicago, IL
    While I understand the appeal some see in living in the "country" I personally find it impractical, unless of course your a farmer. Most of these people moving out to the country or semi-rural areas still live deeply connected to the city. You have to drive quite a ways out of Buffalo to get to the real countryside. That drive is increasing daily as more and more people move farther out. That of course means more cars tarvelling greater distances which uses up more oil and time. Roads see more traffic than they can handle and this of course means more money dedicated to transportation infrastructure. Once a rural area achieves a certain density it looses much of the "rural feel" that may have attracted people there in the first place. The people moving in may be less concerned with keeping it rural and may relax regulations and subdivisions may start popping up. Real estate values increase, farmers realize they are better off financially selling their land to home developers and eventually the countryside is lost. With enough people living out there schools need to be built even if urban and inner suburban schools are below capacity. Retail will surely follow and those idyllic country roads and that peaceful drive are only a distant memory. Of course people still desire to live in the country so they move farther out. This may be helped by the fact that retail is not as far away now and work may be located in a suburban office park meaning the drive may be comprable to that of someone living in the older suburb and commuting downtown.

    Sorry for the rant. Its just that the suburbanization of the countryside is one of my pet peeves. I enjoy visiting the countryside, I just don't want to have to go to a national park to do so. Besides I see suburbanization as a gross misuse of resources.

  5. #5

    Eastern Kentucky

    When I got out of school, I got a job as a planner in Eastern Kentucky, coal mining country. I never locked my doors, saw deer all the time around the house and generally was pretty happy. I always think back and it was the best planner job I had. I learned all about moonshine, light it and the blue flame means that its fine to drink, a yellow flame will kill you or make some part of your body fall off. Everyone drove around with a pickup that had a gun rack and most of the time there was a gun on it. I made $10,000 year and that was a lot of money for that part of the world I was considered to be in a high paying job.

    IF you drove around the you'd see the old fashion gas pumps, the kind with the ball on top. Occasionally you'd run into who either didn't read or couldn't make change. You'd see a lot of trailers. I met a mule skinner while I was working there, and ran into some people who had never been 25 more than 25 miles from where they were born. My favorite job there was getting a water line for the people living on Rattlesnake Ridge. They caught the rain in cisterns, that was their drinking water. I remember the ham hockl stew they made for me the nite I came up there to talk to them about gettting them ther water line. I really felt i was making a difference in people's lives and doing something good for the society. Now its all political B*#*&s*** and talk or drawing pretty pictures.

    Regan got elelcted and cut back the ARC and I lost my job. I returned to the DC area and city living.

  6. #6
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
    Jul 1998
    On the Mother River
    My dad's profession was being a hired man for farmers. The perks of that type of employment was a farm house to live in and free beef, pork, and milk. I have lived in the country until I went to grad school. Always had animals around, usually several hundred head of beef shared our farmstead. There was a fairly large creek out back where we spent many summer days. I do miss living in the country, but I won't be able to again until I retire or change professions. City Managers are expected to live in the cities they run.

    Farm Kid Giff
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  7. #7
    Cyburbian thestip's avatar
    Apr 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    I've got the best of both worlds. I live in the city but have country property far enough out (I mean way out, like an hour from the farthest Buffalo exurbs) that I don't ever have to worry about suburbanization ruining it. I get to live a city life with all the wonderful things that go along with it, yet when I want to get away and enjoy the peace and quiet of the country I head on down to the cabin. 40 acres with 200 acres of county property right next door, only one other cabin on the hill that also belongs to a city dweller, and then just neighbors who live down there. Because of this, our entire side of the hill is still completely natural forest. Plus it's in a small town just outside a small city so if I need anything (esp. Home Depot) its only a 20 to 25 min drive to get whatever is needed.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
    Nov 2003
    at Babies R Us or Home Depot
    Omaha was country enough for me. Even though, I'm extremely introverted I like big cities. I was surprised when I moved to Baltimore. Not even 30 minutes outside the suburbs, farms do exist. They're rather small by Great Plains standards, but they're farms nonetheless. For work, I cover Montgomery and Frederick County and I never knew that dairy farms existed in Maryland until I had to drive the backroads of Frederick County once.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
    Apr 2004
    Tri-Cities, Washington
    Blog entries
    I am moving to suburbanized farm country so there....

    But the town shouldn't exceeed more than 3,500 people.... so the Realtor said.

    I never believe realtors anymore (sorry realtors) since I became I planner I feild at least 2 calls a week from people complaining about development saying: "When I bought the house, the realtor said nothing would be built behind it..." or the favorite, "When we bought 2 years ago, the realtor said only 5,000 square foot homes would go in there, and not the tiny 3,000 sf homes you are proposing."
    (Rant off, sorry for the temporary thread hijack)

    Bear, that place sounded great, only 40 miles from Toledo, quiet and private. Man I wish I had quiet.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone

  10. #10

    May 1997
    Williston, VT
    You actually ever believed realtors? Wow!

    I've never lived in the "city," or at least anyplace that felt like that (Madison during graduate school, but the lakes offer so much openness that Madison doesn't feel that congested), but have lived everywhere from the deep wilderness (27 difficult miles to the nearest dirt road) to the ordinary house on the ordinary street in a number of small towns. I had never actually lived in suburbia until very recently, but I'm there now, in a little neighborhood that meets all of the neo-traditional principles pretty well.

    Over all that spectrum, its hard to say. Some days I do miss the country, but then I think of living 45 miles miles from a grocery store (at least all but the last quarter were paved, I also lived 18 miles from the pavement once - mud season was not fun) and I have to say that there are some real trade-offs. I like being able to walk to work and to the library. Our house in Colorado is probably ideal - surrounded by orchards and meadows on three sides, and you can still walk to the theater in 15 minutes. But we can't live there without a life of constant travel to make a living, so I was enjoying it one week a month and living in hotels and airports the rest of the month. Not a good trade-off.

    I guess it depends on your mood, and your spot in life at the moment, but I have found that being able to walk to some basic services, while being in a small place is what suits me best.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
    Mar 2003
    "Somewhere in the middle"
    I don't believe realtors either!!!! And no I am not sorry!!!

    I think that is why my background in zoning helps because I don't make claims like that. I try really hard to tell the truth.

    Sorry I just had to take this astray.

  12. #12
    I'm city born and bred and I'll be honest, the country is too country for me. I need neighbors close by, I need the rhythm and sounds of the city. They soothe and calm me.

    My brother lives on a gravel/dirt road in the woods of central New Hampshire, astride a portion of the Appalachian Trail. Not too long ago he let his dog out and the pup wouldn't budge out the house. He went outside to investigate and found that a bear had been in his garage, dragged out the trash and a ladder (!), leaving his drive a mess. The bear also left my brother a more personal remembrance

    Beautiful place to visit, but I'd go crazy if I had to live there. To each his own.
    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
    Abraham Lincoln

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Big Owl's avatar
    Jun 2004
    near the edge
    Having lived in what i consider country for most of my child hood and charlotte for a number of years during college. I enjoyed living in the country more but loved the convience of urban living, such as reliable cell phone service and cable television. I currently live in a town of less than 10,000 and enjoy that because it melts the to extremes fairly well i live short 5-10 minute bike ride to the edge of the city to the country side for the cows, soybean fields, and all that but i am also a short walk to work, groceries, first run movie theater, several resturants, and parks.

    Mrs. Big Owl is from the rural eastern part of NC and was 45 minutes from the nearest grocery store. The house she grew up in was 5 miles from the nearest paved road. They did not get power until the 1940s, telephone to 1980s, and her youngest brother is hoping that cable there at the "hard road" will bring him his MTV.

    I like to visit it is nice to have a break from the modernist of my life but more than five days i urn for my saturday morning bike ride out to the hill sides complete with a stop by the coffee shop on the way home. I could do that there but the folks down east aren't too friendly to spandex wearing, skinny tire bike riding folks like my self.... que the banjo music.

  14. #14

    Oct 2001
    Solano County, California
    Don't most polls say that a majority of Americans want "small town/rural" life-which is why the "Faux country" of autocentric suburbia strives so mightily through marketing come-ons, ridiculous names, and (realtors') outright lies to sell the pale imitation of country that modern suburbia is today.

  15. #15
    Feb 2005
    Vanderhoof British Columbia, Canada
    As per a previous thread...

    Anybody pining for country life... Come on up and we'll put you to work

    Seriously, I would probably have a hard time living anywhere else than the country even though I grew up in Vancouver.

    Its hard to describe the Stuart Nechako area of Central BC-- lots of big lakes strung together with big rivers- a literal wilderness by most accounts.


  16. #16
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
    Sep 2001
    skating on thin ice
    Having lived the majority of my life in the country/rural/small towns and recently moving to the city I can honestly say that I don't miss the country too much. I have always had a problem with planners and others that romanticize the rural way of life and try to protect something that the residents don't necessarily want protected (contributing factor to the departure from my last job).

    Only thing that I might miss this summer is the smell of fresh cut hay drying, but i cn always drive abotu an hour and smell it and help a family friend bring it off teh fields if I really want to.

    Have a bit of culture shock, the fact that there are different ones and that there actually is culture

    Country mouse/Bumpkin donk livin' and enjoyin' life in the city.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Jul 2003
    SW-Coastal WA
    My daddy was a farm boy and my mom grew up in a large, cosmopolitan European city (formerly known as Danzig, now part of Poland: Gdansk). As a teen, mom also worked the farm fields and got paid "in kind" so she and her family could eat. My parents always buy a house on the edge of town, "city" to one side of them and "country" to the other. I grew up with a patch of woods behind my house and daddy would call us to dinner with a hunting horn when we were off in the woods, playing, all day.

    When we were stationed at Ft. Irwin (The Mojave Desert, south of Death Valley), we were about 40 miles from Barstow and over 70 miles from the nearest place that was generally deemed to be "civilization". I did a lot of my shopping online. It was quiet (except for the occasional rounds of artillery, ) and we were happy there. We actually tried to get extended so we could stay there but it didn't work out. We had coyotes in our trash out front, sun spiders in the living room, tarantulas in our family room, a baby rattler showed up in the back yard one morning, and we also ran across a couple of scorpions. But worse than all that was the crickets that would get into the house and sing all night, driving us nuts.

    The spiders didn't bother me too much. We had big spiders in Kansas as well. As long as they aren't flying roaches, I can cope.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
    Dec 2001
    West Valley, AZ
    I wasn't raised on a farm, but having grandparents that lived on a small farm didn't hurt. When I was young, I chased the chickens with sticks, hung out in the hen house, pretended to be a dog and hang out in the doghouse and yes... partake in a couple nuggets of dry dog food. I remember running through corn rows and getting a facefull of spider webs that were strung between the aisles. I remember fishing in the nearby river, and seeing deer come rather close to the house. The sound of coyotes in the distance, and playing in a dilapidated barn. I was even allowed to "drive" the combine and tractor by my grandfather's hired help. In a bit of craft, my grandfather would trick us into picking up sticks as he drove us around in a little wagon towed by his lawn tractor. We thought it was fun, he knew it was free labor.

    By the time I was 7 or 8, they reduced the "farmy-ness" of the farm. They continued to grow crops, but the chickens were all eaten, the dog had died, and I was now too smart to fall for the 'pick up stick" game.

    My childhood town of 14,000 is only 20 minutes from my grandparent's farm, where they still live today.

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